Only seven games are on this weekend’s SEC schedule but four of them should be reasonably competitive. In addition to the Vol-Bulldog battle, Arkansas faces Texas A&M in Arlington, Vanderbilt visits Kentucky and Missouri visits South Carolina.
Each of InsideTennessee’s staffers went 7-2 on last week’s SEC Picks – losing on Mississippi State’s upset of LSU and Indiana’s upset of Missouri. Josh Woodward went 6-3 against the spread and Danny Parker 4-5. Randy Moore, leading versus the spread through Week 3, went 2-7 against the points in Week 4, underscoring why he’s a writer and not a gambler.
Here are this week’s IT staff picks, with year-to-date records in parenthesis:
JOSH WOODWARD (40-6, 25-17-1 vs. line)
Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (-9.5) in Arlington: Has all the makings of a very good game, the Hogs remind me of a Phillip Fulmer smash mouth football team, the Aggies want to throw it around 50 times a game. It will likely come down to ball control an I believe Arkansas can play keep away by running the football. If they do this it will put some pressure on Kenny Hill that he hasn't seen. I going with Arkansas on this one. 38-35 Hogs
Vanderbilt at Kentucky (-17): Vanderbilt played much better against South Carolina, I think they can keep it close with Kentucky. 28-20 Wildcats
New Mexico State at LSU (-43): Will the Tigers bounce back after the loss to Miss State, I think they play well, but don't cover the spread. 48-10 Tigers
Missouri at South Carolina (-6): This is a hard pick for me, I just don't think South Carolina is a good team, I believe Missouri could easily beat them. I see this game playing well into the 4th quarter. 28-24 Carolina
Tennessee at Georgia (-17): To me it all comes down to Tennessee stopping the run. I think they can for three quarters, but depth on the defensive front is still an issue. The Gurley versus Johnson match up is one of the best in all of college football. Georgia's pass offense is limited with all the injuries so again stopping the run is key. On offense I believe Tennessee will be able to score some points on this Georgia defense, if Tennessee doesn't turn the ball over we could see another overtime game. The Vols can't afford to get behind like they did in Oklahoma, keep the pressure on the young quarterback at Georgia, with 3rd and long. I think in the end Georgia will squeak out a victory, but closer than Vegas believes. 31-24 Bulldogs
DANNY PARKER (40-6, 23-19-1 vs. line)
Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (-9.5) in Arlington: Could there be two more different philosophies. Should be worth the price of admission to Jerry World. Texas A&M, 56-42.
Louisiana Tech at Auburn (-32): The Tigers figure to bounce back with this stats-padding matchup. Auburn, 45-6.
Vanderbilt at Kentucky (-17): Saw the Commodores up close last week. Yep, not good. Kentucky, 38-17.
New Mexico State at LSU (-43): Gameday going to be in Baton Rouge? I'll hang up and listen. LSU, 52-6.
Memphis at Ole Miss (-19): Coach Hugh Freeze welcomes some old friends to town as a one-time Memphis resident. Pick your score, coach. Rebels have more talent than UCLA. Ole Miss, 38-10.
Duke at Miami (Fla.) (-4.5): Interesting matchup. Louisville got the Hurricanes earlier this year and the Cardinals aren't just great. Pointing to the coaching matchup, have to think Cut gets the better of Golden. Duke, 40-30.
Tennessee at Georgia (-17): Hutson Mason hasn't shown me enough to think he can get it done when the chips are down. With a much-improved defensive line and a talented linebacker corps, have to think the Orange & White is equipped to slow down that rushing attack just enough. The Bulldogs secondary doesn't look terribly improved over last year, and it was a lackluster unit in 2013, which means matchup issues for the home team. The Volunteers were a couple catastrophic plays away from scaring the hades out of Oklahoma, and I said before the season that this team would sneak up on someone as a heavy underdog. Up until viewing the Georgia-South Carolina game in its entirety, had your Vols losing this one by double figures. However, between that performance and how helpful it was for this group to play in Norman, going to have to call for a road upset, which I haven't done in a couple years if not mistaken. Tennessee, 27-24.
RANDY MOORE (39-7, 22-20-1 vs. line)
Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (-9.5) in Arlington: The Hogs couldn’t stop Auburn’s uptempo offense, so I suspect they won’t be able to stop the Aggies’ either. A&M, 41-34
Louisiana Tech at Auburn (-32): Tech lost 30-27 last week to Northwestern State of the Football Championship Subdivision … in Ruston, no less. Is Derek Dooley coaching the Bulldogs again? Auburn, 49-14
Vanderbilt at Kentucky (-17): How many times has the Big Blue been a double-digit favorite in an SEC football game the past 10 years? This is it, I’m guessing. Kentucky, 34-14
Memphis at Ole Miss (-19): The Rebels are looking ahead to next weekend’s game with Alabama but wake up in time to win. Ole Miss, 31-20
Missouri at South Carolina (-6): The Tigers looked awful against Indiana last Saturday and the Gamecocks looked awful against Vanderbilt. With two split-personality teams, I’m going with the home-field advantage. Carolina, 37-34
Duke at Miami of Florida (-4.5): I still wonder where Tennessee would be if Mike Hamilton had hired David Cutcliffe instead of Derek Dooley. Duke, 34-31
Tennessee at Georgia (-17): I think the Vols are significantly improved from last year, and I’d pick them to win if this game were in Knoxville. It’s not. Dawgs, 27-24